New England Traffic Safety: Lax Enforcement of Texting While Driving Laws

The risks of texting and driving are widely known; however, new evidence suggests that texting while driving laws are not necessarily being enforced. According to reports, only about one citation is issued per day. Some suggest that enforcement of texting while driving laws may be difficult because it is hard to catch drivers in the act.

In every state, motorists, passengers, as well as pedestrians and bikers can be severely injured or lose their lives to distracted drivers. Victims and their families have advocated for harsher penalties for violators, including criminal convictions and sentences. Our Boston car accident lawyers are committed to helping stop distracted drivers to prevent injury and fatality among our nation’s motorists.


Many states have enacted texting while driving bans. While legislators may believe that the laws are an effective way to fight texting while driving, law enforcement officers may not aggressively take action against drivers. According to a recent USA Today survey, drivers are not likely to get ticketed in most states. Some states average fewer than one texting while driving citation per day.

Police officers also agree that texting while driving laws are difficult to enforce. Many people just hold their phones below the window of their vehicle. Despite efforts to become more savvy when pulling drivers over, officers may need to adjust tactics to catch drivers in the act.

Every city, county, and state officer has the ability to give a citation when a driver breaks the law. In some states, local officers write more tickets for violators, while in other states, citations are more often distributed by state police. Currently, the Foundation for Traffic Safety is conducting a study to determine how many citations are actually issued. While it is difficult to assess, it is even more difficult to determine why there is not more enforcement of these laws. Some states don’t track texting while driving violations at all.

Even though most drivers know the dangers of texting while driving, many will still violate the law. According to recent studies, while 81% of drivers found texting while driving to be a serious threat, 35% of those surveyed had opened and read a text while 27% of those surveyed had typed and sent a text from their cell phone while behind the wheel.

Distracted driving has been found to be a greater risk to drivers than drinking and driving. Drivers who continue to text and drive face an accident rate 23 times that of drivers who are not distracted. While distracted driving could be attributed to other factors such as children, pets, or changing the radio station, the majority of these accidents are caused by cellphones and texting. The low numbers of those receiving citations may mean that drivers are not actually deterred by texting and driving laws.

To reduce the number of drivers who text when behind the wheel, safety advocates have also suggested additional penalties–through insurance companies. A recent survey found that 72.9% of drivers polled agreed that drivers who are caught texting should pay higher insurance rates.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, contact Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call (617) 777-7777.

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